The state’s power grid operators hope rotating outages will actually begin Wednesday, calling it the “best case” so thousands of Texans aren’t shouldering entire outages.
That means some folks who held onto their power so far during the winter storm might have their electricity knocked out for short periods or time, while others might get short stints of power, officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Wednesday.
“The best case at this point is that today or tomorrow we’re able to at least get back down to the point where all the consumers are experiencing outages that are no longer than say 30 minutes to an hour at a time … I think that’s a benefit,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT’s senior director of system operations.
Woodfin and CEO Bill Magness still could not say when the state will have full restoration of power.
“I don’t think its likely that we’re going to have enough available [generation] based on our forecast, and the information were getting from generators, that we’re going to have everybody back on today or before at least the morning tomorrow,” Woodfin said.
As generation is available, ERCOT tells utility companies like Oncor how much power they can distribute or need to hold back. The utility companies decide which neighborhoods get and lose power, but try to avoid critical areas where hospitals and emergency responders are housed.
“We actually have quite a few more neighborhoods turned on right now than we did last night,” Woodfin said.
More than 3.1 million Texas homes were reported to be without power at 1:30 p.m., according to Power Outage.us, despite electricity being restored even temporarily to many customers over the last day.
The number of Texas homes without power was fluctuating throughout the morning and into the early afternoon Wednesday — as early as 6:30 a.m., 2.7 million homes were without power.
Oncor Electric Delivery was also reporting hundreds of thousands of outages in the early afternoon Wednesday., though some improvements had been made in restoring power.
Around 1:30 p.m., the company reported more than 22,000 active outages affecting more than 490,000 customers. More than 95,000 customers were affected in Dallas and more than 144,000 were affected in Tarrant County, though those numbers fluctuated regularly throughout the day.
Oncor said power demand had lowered overnight, allowing electricity to be restored to some homes, but that as of 5 a.m., Oncor said controlled outages were still in place because of a lack of generation.
The company cautioned that low temperatures early Wednesday could force further outages, but said crews were stationed across the service territory before Wednesday’s storm hit and were working to restore damaged equipment.
The National Weather Service also warned that more power outages are possible due to ice expected through Wednesday’s second winter storm warning.
Meanwhile, as the power outages stretch on, more cities are urging residents to boil their water before using it, including Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.
Magness said the decision to start cutting power, made about 1 a.m. Monday, was a “wise decision” to prevent…